As we embark on a new year, many businesses are evaluating their current ways of doing things and looking to new technology and solutions to help them be more efficient and innovative.
One area where there is a lot of focus, particularly with the growing implementation of AI and automated solutions, is customer service. In many ways, customer service has remained a difficult challenge over the years, but forward-thinking businesses are looking at ways to harness the power of big data and technology to transform the customer experience.
The following are some trends and things to look for as far as customer service and experience in 2020.
With customer service, an omnichannel approach looks at the experience of each customer as a unified journey. At the center of that journey? The customer. All the channels work together with one another, but this isn’t the same as multi-channel.
A multi-channel approach makes the business the center, and there are often silos between channels.
The underlying goal of omnichannel support is engaging customers no matter where they are. The customer gets to choose where they go, and they still receive the support they need while they’re there.
What businesses have to understand is that people are going to reach for the most convenient method to access a company at any given time, and that’s becoming less and less likely to be the phone.
AI and Chatbots
We hear a lot about artificial intelligence, but what you might not realize is that customer service is the first widespread and mainstream implementation of this kind of technology in many businesses.
A chatbot is a good example of this. Chatbots are preprogrammed or use artificial intelligence to answer customer questions on-demand.
Chatbots have a variety of applications in the customer service world, and they’re there whenever a customer wants to access them.
What’s compelling about chatbots is that they learn and get better over time thanks to machine learning.
With AI and self-service tools, it’s possible to meet user demand in a way not otherwise available, and these tools and technology can keep up with the changing needs of your business.
The idea of customer service being available through social media platforms isn’t new, but it’s increasingly relevant to the point that many organizations are making it an exclusive area of focus.
The majority of customers expect customer service to be available via social media channels, and many customers also prefer it.
A dedicated social customer service program is something that you might consider in 2020.
While a lot of what we talk about in terms of customer service is technology-related, there’s something else companies and brands are realizing—it’s essential to understand the psychological motivations of a customer and connect with them on an emotional level.
Before you can start offering any solution to a customer, they need to feel they’re being recognized and understood.
When a customer feels an emotional connection to a brand, they’re going to be loyal, and along with that, they’ll serve as an advocate for the brand.
Another trend that’s going to be relevant in 2020 is the idea of selling services far more than selling products. Yes, you might also sell products, but the modern consumer is more interested than experiences than products in many cases.
Rather than constantly rolling out new products, businesses should think about how they can create value through services for their existing customers and new customers.
Think about Peloton—yes, the bike is a core part of the brand, but the company is about a lot more than that. The bike might be the initial purchase, but then customers pay for the use of the app platform. That’s an ongoing service, and Peloton works to make it about an experience like no other.
The Peloton service and experience are highly personalized and immersive, and there’s something for everyone even if they aren’t a fitness maven.
Peloton also extends their services and experiences to social media not only on their own channels, but they have their instructors serve as social media personalities who connect with the audience directly, answer questions, and serve as constant brand advocates.
It’s a good indication of where things are heading in terms of customer service trends.
Peloton also highlights the idea of a strong corporate culture being the underpinning of the delivery of excellent customer service.
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